Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chapter 64 [part 4 of 4]

[How Gandandel and Brocadan received justice.] 

[Gauntlets on display at Segovia Castle. Photo by Sue Burke.]

Then Angriote de Estravaus arrived with his nephew Sarquiles, fully armed, and approached the King to kiss his hands. The twelve knights were surprised that he had come because they did not know why. But Gandandel and Brocadan were terrified and looked at one another, as those who knew what Angriote had said previously, and thought he had come because of that. Although they held him to be one of the best knights in the King’s reign, they prepared themselves to answer him. They called their two sons to stand near them and ordered them to say nothing more than they were ordered.

Angriote came before the King and told him:

“My lord, order Gandandel and Brocadan to come forward. I must tell them some things so that ye and those here shall know better what has occurred.”

The King ordered them to step forward, and everyone came to see what it would happen.

Angriote said:

“My lord, know that Gandandel and Brocadan are disloyal and false to you, and they advised you badly and with lies, without thinking about God or you or Amadis, who did them so many honors and never did them wrong. And they vilely told you that Amadis sought to raise a revolt in your land, but he never thought of anything but to serve you. They made you lose the best man that any king has ever had, and with him many other good knights who did not deserve it. And so, my lord, I have come before you to tell them that they are evil and false and they did you great treachery when you trusted them fully. If they deny it, I shall fight them both, and if their age excuses them, they can put their sons in their places, for with the help of God I shall show them the disloyalty of their parents, and you, good King, shall witness it.”

“My lord,” Gandandel said, “ye see now how Angriote has come to your court to dishonor it, and this is because you allow those who do not wish to serve you enter your lands. If that had been remedied, this would not have happened. And do not be surprised, my lord, if Amadis were to come here tomorrow to challenge you. If Angriote had found me in that time when I did many services at arms in another kingdom for your brother, King Falangris, he would not dare to say what he says. But since he finds me old and weak, he is bold to conquer, and this diminishes you more than it affects me.”

“No, evil sir,” Angriote said. “Now that your false charges have been made known, they can do no harm, and they did enough harm when you told them to the King. I do not come to cause revolt nor to dishonor his court: instead, in his honor, to remove the bad seed that cast out the good seed.”

Sarquiles said:

“My lord, ye know well the words that I have told you about this, and by them ye recognize the truth in what my lord and uncle Angriote says. With my own ears I heard all about the malice that these two evil men did to you to make you suspect Amadis and his family. And if they say it is not so or excuse themselves for their age, let their sons respond, who are young and strong, those three against us two. God will show the truth, and there it shall be seen if they are such that can relieve Amadis and his family from your service as their fathers have.”

When Gandandel’s two sons saw their father discredited and everyone in the palace laughing to see him in such trouble, with great anger they came through the crowd, pushing aside one person after another, and when they were before the King, they said:

“My lord, Angriote has lied in what he said about our father and Brocadan, and we shall fight them. Here are our pledges.”

Each give the king their gauntlet, and Angriote gave him the skirt of his chain mail and said:

“My lord, here you see my pledge. Let them arm themselves at once. And ye, my lord, mount and watch our battle.”

The King said:

“Most of the day has gone past, and there is no more time to fight. Tomorrow, after Mass, be ready for battle, and we shall put you in the field.”

Then a knight came forward who was named Adamas, who was the son of Brocadan and Gandandel’s sister, and although he was well built, very brave, and strong, he was very vile, so everyone disliked him. He told the King:

“My lord, I say that Sarquiles has lied about everything he has said, and I shall fight him tomorrow if he dares to enter the field with his uncle.”

Sarquiles was very pleased by this and to find himself in the company of his uncle, and immediately gave his pledge to the King, for he wanted to fight. Then the King ordered everyone to go to their lodgings, and they did. Angriote and Sarquiles left with the dozen knights and took Madasima and her damsels with them, who had by then had said farewell to the Queen and Oriana, and the Queen ordered a fine tent provided for them to stay in.

The King received Sir Grumedan and his nephew Giontes, and ordered Gandandel and Brocadan to be called in and told them:

“I am amazed that ye told me so many times that Amadis wished to do me treason and lead a revolt in my land, and now when the proof is needed, ye have let it drop and have put your sons in a test in which they do not know what justice their side may have. Ye have wronged God and me, and the malice that ye did made me lose a good man and many good knights. Ye shall not be without penalty, because the just Judge shall give it to those who deserve it.”

“My lord,” Gandandel said, “my sons came forward thinking that the test would be delayed.”

“Indeed,” Sir Grumedan said, “they thought correctly, because there is and will be nothing against Amadis in this nor in any other thing in which he is said to have erred against the King. If ye suspected him, that was so unreasonable that not even the devils in hell could have thought it. If ye had a thousand heads and the King were to cut them all off, it would not avenge the harm that ye did him. But ye remain, and may God wish that it be not for more evil, and the anguish that your sons shall suffer will be your fault.”

“Sir Grumedan,” they said, “although ye may believe that and wish for it, we have hope that our sons shall raise up our honor and theirs.”

“May God not save me,” Grumedan said, “if I wished for that more than what is deserved for the good or bad advice that ye gave to the King.”

Then the King ordered them to speak no more of that for it was useless. They were dismissed and he went to eat, and the others went to their homes. That night each side prepared their arms and their horses, and from midnight on, Angriote and Sarquiles kept vigil in the chapel of Holy Mary that was next to their tents.

At the dawn of day all the dozen knights armed themselves and were suspicious of the King because they thought he was angry with them. They took Madasima and her damsels with them on their palfreys, each knight with a damsel, and Angriote and Sarquiles in front of them, and they entered the town and went to the field where the battle was going to be. The King and all the knights and townspeople were already there, with three judges to oversee the fight. One was King Arban of North Wales; the other Giontes, the King’s nephew; and the third Quinorante, the good jouster.

They took Angriote and Sarquiles and put them at one end of the field. Then Tanarin and Corian, the two brothers, and Adamas, the cousin, came and entered the field very well armed and on beautiful horses, prepared to prevail if the malice of their fathers would not prevent it.

When the knights were lined up against each other, Giontes sounded his trumpet, and the knights charged as fast as their horses could gallop. Corian and Tanarin aimed at Angriote, and Adamas at Sarquiles. Tanarin hit Angriote in the encounter and his lance broke and flew apart in pieces.

Angriote struck Corian on his shield so bravely that he threw him over the haunches of his horse. When he turned to Tanarin, he saw that he had his sword in his hand. Tanarin saw his brother on the ground and came at Angriote in rage, meaning to strike him on his helmet, but he swung too soon and instead hit Angriote’s horse on the head with a great blow that cut a piece from it and the bridle headband, and the reins fell to its chest.

And as he came so violently, and as Angriote came for him, they covered themselves with their shields and struck each other so hard that Tanarin fell to the ground stunned. Angriote, who saw that his horse was injured, jumped from it as fast as he could, as one who was very agile and valiant and had often seen himself in similar perils.

On foot, he held up his shield and put his hand on his sword, with which he had given many great and mighty blows in the past, and came at the two brothers, who were together. He saw how his nephew Sarquiles was fighting with Adamas on horse bravely with swords. When he reached the brothers, they came on either side of him and attacked him with great blows, as those who were valiant and very strong. But Angriote defended himself, raising his shield to one and his sword to the other, so that he made them turn around him, and they did not manage to strike him fully and their blows were always deflected downward, for, as ye have been told, this knight was better at attacking with a sword than all the other knights in the reign of the King. Soon he had them in such a state that their shields were in pieces and their chain mail was broken in many places, from which blood flowed.

But he was not unharmed himself. He had suffered many injuries and had lost a lot of blood. Sarquiles, when he saw his uncle in trouble and because he could not defeat Adamas, put everything into one attack. He spurred his horse sharply and grabbed Adamas by the arms. They struggled together for a time, each trying to pull the other down.

When Angriote saw them, he came as fast as he could to help Sarquiles if he fell, and the two brothers followed him as best as they could to help their cousin. At that moment the two knights fell to the ground tightly embraced, and there ye would have seen a great battle. Angriote tried to rescue his nephew and the others their cousin. Angriote did amazing feats at arms, giving such hard and terrible and fierce blows that for everything the two brothers did, they could not do enough to allow Adamas to leave the hands of Sarquiles alive.

When Gandandel and Brocadan saw this, for up until then they had hoped that the strength of their sons would uphold in battle what they had devised with great malice, they left their window with great pain and anguish in their hearts. The King did the same, for the success of Amadis’s friends weighed on him and he did not wish to see the defeat and death of the others nor the victory of Angriote. But everyone else was taking great pleasure in it because in this world the evil deeds of Gandandel and Brocadan were being repaid with some of what they deserved.

But the four knights that were in the field thought of nothing else but to attack on all sides with great blows, and the battle did not last long for Angriote and Sarquiles tired the two brothers with so many blows. Now Corian and Tanarin did not try to defend themselves and only retreated, looking for some protection, but they could not find it. They gave a few blows and turned to flee, thinking they could save their lives.

But in the end they were knocked down and could not withstand the blows that their enemies gave them, and died by their hands, much to the pleasure of the beautiful Madasima and the knights of Firm Island, and of Oriana and Mabilia, who had never ceased praying to God to give them victory, which they had won.

Then Angriote asked the judges if there was anything more to do. They told him that he had done quite enough to fulfill his honor. They sent them from the field, and they were taken away by their companions. With Madasima, they returned to their tents, where they had their wounds attended to.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer signoff

Book III starts in September. 

[Sue Burke, your translator, on the 14th century Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic. Photo by Jerry Finn.]

With the next entry, posted next week, Book II of Amadis of Gaul comes to an end — with a furious fight to the death. Then we’ll take a summer vacation.

Book II began as Amadis became lord of Firm Island. But then he received a letter from Oriana rejecting his love because she believed he loved Queen Briolanja. Amadis withdrew from the world, changed his name to Beltenebros, and nearly died of grief before the Damsel of Denmark rescued him. Amadis went on to achieve new, greater triumphs while the love between him and Oriana deepened. Then the treachery of two old men in King Lisuarte’s court made Amadis depart from the King in enmity — but Oriana was pregnant.

This blog will return in September with the start of Book III: more exciting adventures and intrigues. Watch out for the Endriago!

Remember that this blog is licensed under Creative Commons 3.0, so feel free to use your summer to copy, distribute, display, share, or perform all or any part of it, or to create derivative works — for non-commercial use. Just say that you got it here.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chapter 64 [part 3 of 4]

[How Madasima and the damsels were freed, but not to everyone’s satisfaction.] 

[View of the collegiate church and castle of Santa María la Mayor in Alquézar, Spain. Photo by LsanzSal.] 

The next morning the twelve knights went to hear Mass with the King, and when it was said, the King went to his palace with his advisors and many other noblemen, and he ordered Gandandel and Brocadan brought to him. He told them:

“Now you must repeat the same argument that ye have always made to me before these noblemen about why Madasima and her damsels should not be heard.”

He ordered them to stand in a place where they could address everyone. Imosil of Burgundy and Ledaderin of Fajaraque came before the King:

“We and these knights come here to ask for your mercy so Madasima and her damsels may be heard, because we believe that thus ye shall do what is right.”

Gandandel said:

“Many speak of what is right but few know what it is. Ye say that these damsels rightly ought to be heard, but that cannot rightly be, for they are obliged to die without exception. They entered the King’s prison under this agreement: If Ardan Canileo were killed and defeated, the island of Mongaza would be freely given to him, and if not, the damsels and the knights with them would be killed. The knights, after the death of Ardan Canileo, delivered the castles they had, but Gromadaza does not wish to deliver what she has, so there is and can be no reason to excuse them from death.”

Imosil said:

“Truly, Gandandel, ye have no reason to say what ye did in front of such a good King and knights such as these, for it is contrary to what is right and was said for no other reason than ill will. It is manifest to all who know anything that in any dispute that may hang over a man or woman, if it does not involve treason or rebellion, their life or death must be heard and judged according to their guilt. This is done in lands were there is justice, and to do otherwise would be great cruelty. And this is what we ask of the King, that he consider the matter with these noblemen who are here and do what is just.”

Gandandel replied that this was so unjust that he could say no more, and the King should make a decision, for he had already heard both sides. And that was how the matter rested. The King and certain knights remained, and all the rest left. The King wanted his uncle Argamonte, a very honorable and wise count, to say what he thought, but he deferred to the King, saying that no one knew the law as completely as he did. The others agreed.

When the King saw this, he said:

“Since ye leave it to me, I say that it seems to me that the wisest thing is what Imosil of Burgundy said, that the damsels should be heard.”

“Truly, my lord,” said the Count and all the rest, “ye have decided justly, and so it shall be.”

Then they called the knights and told them his decision, and Imosil and Ledaderin kissed his hands and said:

“Then, my lord, if it is your mercy, order Madasima and her damsels be brought forth, and we shall save them with just cause or with arms if it is necessary.”

“I am pleased that it shall be so,” the King said. “Bring the damsels and we shall see if they accept you to speak for them.”

And then they were sent for, and they came before the King with such great fear and looking so lovely that there was no man who did not have great pity for them. The twelve knights from Firm Island took the damsels by the hand, and Agrajes and Sir Florestan took Madasima’s hands.

Imosil and Ledaderin said:

“My lady Madasima, these knights came here to save you and your damsels from death. The King wishes to know if ye shall let us represent you.”

She said:

“My lords, if the rights of captive and ill-fated damsels can be given, we give them to you, and we place ourselves in the care of God and you.”

“Since that is so,” Imosil said, “now let whoever wishes to speak against you come forward, if there is anyone, and I shall defend you with words or arms. And if as many as twelve come, they shall find their reply here.”

The King turned to Gandandel and Brocadan and saw how they looked at the ground and were dismayed and did not respond. He said to the knights of Firm Island:

“Go to your lodgings until tomorrow, and meanwhile may those who wish to respond formulate their arguments.”

Then they accompanied Madasima back to prison and then went to their lodgings. The King took Gandandel and Brocadan aside and told them:

“Ye have told and counseled me many times that it was just to kill the damsels and that ye would defend that by just reason, and even, if it were necessary, by your sons with arms. Now it is time to for you to do so, and I, because what Imosil says seems like beautiful and just reason to me, shall not order anyone in my court to fight with these knights. And so, do as ye must. If not, the damsels shall be free and I shall not have been well counseled.”

They said they would come the next day with their reply, and went very sadly to their homes. They agreed that they had begun their cause with reasoned arguments, but they would not put their sons in the confrontation because their reasons were not true and because their sons were not equal in arms to those knights.

But that night the news arrived to the King that the giantess Gromadaza was dead and had ordered her castles be delivered to the King to free her daughter and the damsels, and that Count Latine had the castles in his power, which pleased him very much.

The next day, after Mass, he sat where he would give justice, and the twelve knights came before him, and he told them:

“From today on do not speak anymore about what shall be done with the damsels, for ye are released from that. Madasima and her damsels are freed from death because I have the castles for which I held them in prison.”

Hearing this gave great pleasure to Gandandel and Brocadan because they had expected nothing but great dishonor.

Then the King ordered Madasima and her damsels brought forth, and he told them:

“Ye are free and I hold ye released. Do what ye please, for I have the castles for which ye were held.”

He did not want to tell her that her mother was dead. Madasima wished to kiss his hands, but the King would not let her, for he never did unless he gave a lady or damsel a mercy. She told him:

“My lord, since I am in my own free will as ye say, I put myself under the power of my lord Sir Galvanes, who, with his friends, has put forth so much effort for me.”

Agrajes took her by the hand and said:

“My good lady, ye have done what ye ought, and although ye are now disinherited from your lands, ye shall have another where ye shall be honored until God provides the remedy.”

Imosil told the King:

“My lord, if Madasima is to be done rightly, she should not be disinherited, for it is known that children are in the power of their parents, and although it troubles them, they must follow their orders. But they should not be condemned to be disinherited for this, for obedience more than volition obliges them to do what their parents wish. And since ye, my lord, serve to give each one what is right, ye are obliged to do it yourself to give an example to others.”

“Imosil,” the King said, “ye have the damsels freed, and do not speak of the rest, for I have suffered many affronts from that land, and now I must defend it, and I cannot take it from my daughter Leonoreta, to whom I gave it.”

Sir Galvanes told him:

“My lord, the right that Madasima has to that land comes from her grandparents, and I am committed to that. I ask you to remember the services I did for you and do not seek to make me disinherited, for I wish to be your vassal and be in your mercy, and I shall serve you in it as loyally and as well as I can.”

“Sir Galvanes,” the King said, “do not speak of this, for what is done cannot be undone.”

“Since neither right nor prudence serves me,” he said, “I shall try to take it as best I can, and to keep it from your kingdom.”

“Do what ye may,” the King said, “for it has already been in the power of those braver than you, and it will be easier to defend it from you than it was to take it from them.”

“Ye hold it because of that person who has been poorly rewarded,” Sir Galvanes said. “He shall help me recover it.”

The King said:

“If he helps you, many others will serve me who did not serve for love of him, who I had in my court and protected from them.”

Agrajes, who was irate, said:

“In truth, as some here and many others well know, if Amadis was protected by you or you by him, although ye are King, he was always a knight errant.”

Sir Florestan, who saw that Agrajes was so angry, put a hand on his shoulder and pulled him back, then stood in front of him and told the King:

“It seems, my lord, that ye value the services more of those of whom ye speak than of those of Amadis, and we are close to proving the truth of that.”

Sir Brian of Monjaste stepped past Florestan and said:

“Although ye, my lord, little value the services of Amadis and his friends, ye must value a lot those who could rightly make them forgotten.”

The King said:

“Sir Brian, I see by your face that you are one of his friends.”

“Truly I am,” he said, “and he is my cousin and I must do his will in everything.”

“We have everything here to prevent that,” the King said.

“It will all be necessary,” he said, “to prevent what Amadis could do.”

Then knights came from both sides to respond, but the King raised a staff he had in his hand and ordered them to speak no more of that, and everyone sat down again.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chapter 64 [part 2 of 4]

[How the King came to understand that he had received bad advice, and how Gandandel and Brocadan feared for their future.] 

[Illustration for The Life of St. Edward the Confessor from a manuscript executed in about 1250 to 1260, in the University of Cambridge Digital Library.]

Sarquiles mounted his horse and used a shortcut he knew to arrive at Firm Island as fast as he could. Due to the labor of the road, he arrived with his horse weak and weary, and it could carry him no more. He found Amadis, Angriote, and Sir Bruneo of Bonamar riding along the seashore to prepare ships to go to Gaul, where Amadis wished to see his father and mother. Sarquiles was well received by them, and Angriote told him:

“Nephew, what trouble do ye have that ye brought your horse to such a bad state?”

“A very great one,” he said, “and I wished to see you and tell you something that ye need to know.”

Then he told them how the damsel, named Gandaza, had hidden him in Brocadan’s house, and repeated everything that he had overheard Brocadan and Gandandel say about the malice they had arranged between the King and Amadis. Angriote said to Amadis:

“Does it seem to you, my lord, that my suspicion was misdirected, although ye would not let me act on it? But now, if it please God, neither you nor anyone else can deny that these evil men have obviously done a great treason and vile deed to the King and to you.”

Amadis told him:

“Now, my good friend, ye may act with more certainty and righteousness than before, and may God help you with it.”

“Then I shall leave tomorrow at dawn of day,” Angriote said, “and Sarquiles shall come with me on another horse, and soon ye will learn of the payment that those evildoers shall receive for their malice.”

Immediately they went to Amadis’s lodging, which he always shared with Angriote, and they prepared everything that would be necessary for the trip. The next day they mounted and left for the place where they knew King Lisuarte was.

The King was deep in thought about the things Sarquiles had told him, waiting to see what would result from it.

One day Gandandel and Brocadan came to him and told him:

“My lord, we are worried that ye are not thinking about your estate.”

“That may well be,” the King said, “but why do ye ask?”

“Because some knights are coming from Firm Island,” they said. “They are your enemies, and without any fear they will try to enter your court and save these damsels from whom ye ought to have received that land. And if ye take our advice, before the knights arrive, ye shall have them beheaded and send orders to them not to enter in your land. With this, ye shall be feared, and neither Amadis nor they shall dare to anger you. As things are now, if they do not abandon their plans out of fear, they shall not do so out of virtue. My lord, order this be done immediately without any more discussion or delay, because when things like this are done quickly, they create more fear.”

The King remembered what Sarquiles had told him and realized he had been told the truth when he saw how eagerly they sought the death of these damsels. He did not wish to act with haste, and instead told them:

“Ye say two things that are both very weighty and very wrong: first, to kill the damsels without any form of justice. What account shall I make to the Lord, Whose minister I am, if I were to do that? He put me to act in His place so that things would be done justly in His name. If doing injustice and injury were to put great fear in people as ye say, in the end it would all justly and rightly fall on me, because when kings do cruelties more due to desire than reason, they trust their wisdom more than God’s, which is the greatest error possible. So the truest and most sure thing to make any prince secure in this world and the next one is to do things in accord with the counsel of people with good intentions, and to believe that although at the beginning he might encounter some difficulties, if he is guided by the just Judge, the end can only be good.

“The second thing that ye say is to send orders to these knights not to come to my court, and it would be a very dishonest thing to send away anyone who wishes to seek justice from me, especially if they are quite opposed to me. There is much honor for me to have in my hand and will the ability to do what they seek and so by necessity they must come to ask my judgement.

“So I will do neither of the things that ye told me, which I do not hold for good, and much less that which ye have counseled me against Amadis and for which I deserve great sorrow because never from him nor his family did I receive anything but service. If there were anything against them, others would have known or suspected something, but the only proof that has appeared is yours. Ye have advised me poorly and harmed someone who never deserved it. I, who erred, bear the penalty, and I think that in the end ye, who did not lead me to the truth, will also have to pay.”

He arose, left them, and went to his knights. Gandandel felt very frightened when he saw the King like that, for he did not know how to prove what he had said. Brocadan told him:

“Now is not the time to turn back, Gandandel, for little can be gained from so much harm. Instead, we should sustain all that we have said to the King more forcefully.”

“I do not know how this can be done,” Gandandel said, “because no one has been found who does not say the contrary.”

And so they stood, pondering in their hearts that which would make their error greater, as is natural among evil men.

The next day the King rode with a large company after having heard Mass. He went out into the country, and soon the knights arrived from Firm Island who were coming to free Madasima and her damsels. When the King saw them, he rode toward them to receive them because they deserved recognition for their great skill, and because he was very honorable to everyone.

They came before him with great humility. Their men put up tents in the field where they could stay, and the King traveled that far with them. As he was leaving, Sir Galvanes told him:

“My lord, trusting in your virtue and your good and just ways, we have come to ask for your mercy to hear Madasima and her damsels so they might receive justice. We are here to support their plea, and if we cannot do that, it will not trouble us to support them with arms, for there is no cause for which they should die.”

The King said:

“For today, rest in your tents, and I shall do all that which rightly should be done.”

Sir Brian of Monjaste told him:

“My lord, we hope that ye shall do everything which becomes your royal estate and conscience. If anything in it is lacking, it will be due to bad advisors who do not protect your honor or fame. If it does not trouble you, I shall make it known at once to anyone who says the contrary.”

“Sir Brian,” the King said, “if ye had believed your father, I know well that ye would not have left me for another, nor would you have come to speak against me.”

“My lord,” Brian said, “my thoughts are for you. I do not ask you to do anything that is not right, but do not allow your grace to be injured by those who by fate do not serve you as well as I do. And as for what ye said, that if I believed my father I would not leave you, I did not leave you because I was never yours, although I am of your family. I came to your court to see my cousin Amadis, and when it did not please you to have him be yours, I left with him and did not err at any point from what I should do.”

As ye hear, this is what happened with Brian of Monjaste. The King went to the town and they remained in their tents, where they were visited by many of their friends. Regarding Oriana, I tell you that she never left her window, looking at those who loved her beloved so much, and she prayed to God to give them the victory that they sought.

That night Gandandel and Brocadan felt anguish in their souls because they could not find one good reason with which to uphold what they had started, but since they saw more danger in desisting, they decided to continue on.